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Top 5 toughest entrance exams in India

Have you ever wondered which are the toughest entrance exams in India? Sure there are thousands of them that have mushroomed in the past decade but the entrance exams for premier institutes in India still remain the tough to clear. Let’s check out which ones they are.


UPSC Civil services exams

If there is one exam in India which literally requires you to know everything under the sun, it has to be the Civil Services exam held by the Union Public Service Commission.

You would be expected to start off by clearing a Civil Services Aptitude Test (SCAT) followed by the main test, further followed by a personal interview. Oh by the way, you may have to wait for a year from the date of giving your CSAT to be called for a personal interview – if you clear Round 1, that is!


The Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE) is one of the toughest engineering entrance exams in the world. It has a success rate of around 1 in 45. More than 17 to 20 engineering institutes including the IITs use the JEE to eliminate and select students. Successful candidates can chose to study engineering, architecture, design, technology, and sciences in colleges that accept a JEE score. This exam attracts the crème de la crème of students and clearing it is supposed to be the height of achievement of an Indian student.


Also called the Common Entrance Test, the CAT exams are meant for getting an entry into premier management and business schools like the IIMs. It tests students in areas of Interpretation, Logical Reasoning and Verbal ability. Apart from the IIMs, the scores of the CAT are also accepted by many other colleges offering MBAs. Did you know, more than 2 lakh students give the CAT each year and only 1500 manage to get the percentile required for the IIMs?

AIIMS Entrance Exams

It is every single medical student’s wish to clear this exam so that he/she doesn’t have to end up paying lakhs of rupees for an MBBS degree to self financed colleges located in remote areas of the country. An autonomous body, AIIMS conducts its own pan India entrance exam, the results of which are also accepted by many other medical colleges.

Imagine how tough the exam would be, if students from all over India are fighting for a limited number of seats.

National Institute of Design

Also called the Design Aptitude Test, this entrance exam can give weak knees to the best of creative design students. If you think you can answer questions like "Draw the world from an ant’s perspective", then may want to think of applying for this test held at major cities of India. Through this tough entrance exam, the NID Admission Committee aims to test the perception, attitude, aptitude, achievement and motivation of a candidate. In the second round, shortlisted students are grilled with personal interviews and studio tests.

The irony of the situation is that these exams just keep getting tougher and tougher every year. And the highest percentiles secured keep going up and up and up. Looks like the sky is the limit for these tough entrance exams, literally.

About Kaushambi

Kaushambi Vaishnav is a Freelancer with professional and personal interest in media, technology, business, current affairs and the internet.


  1. Thanx for information…

  2. i am preparing for IIT-JEE. and my fingers are crossed. someone has told me that this time more than 5 lac. students gives the exam. and the result is only 2%. hope so i will be selected in IIT.

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